My career in the motor industry began in 1975, when I commenced my apprenticeship at Stillwell Ford, in Kew a suburb of Melbourne. This Dealership, has a rich Motorsport History and as a result, there was a number of people who were involved in many aspects of the sport. I have worked at many various workshops large and small, one common thread was people who were somehow involved with Motorsport!
My interest in Motorsport was always present and I cannot remember a time without it being a part of me. The first race meeting I went to, was the Tasman series at Sandown in 1969 when Graeme Lawrence ran the Ferrari Dino!
As I approached 18 and my driving licence, my interest was growing in racing and I joined a car club where I met John Faulkner who, at the time, had a 3.0 litre Ford Capri Touring Car and began helping him at race meetings. Then David Cannon who had an RS200 Ford Escort Touring car. It was at this time I first started competing in Club events myself, then progressed into open race meetings during the coming 18 months.
On the work front, my experience was growing and by the time I finished my training I was already competing. On completion of my training at Stillwell Ford upon invitation, I went to Brian Wood Ford, a dealer who also was a major Motorsport supporter. My dedication to my sport had already started to over-ride my work commitments! Continuing with my working life, I moved through a variety of employers to enable some flexibility for me to build on my racing experience. A balance had to be found!
I had built and developed a Ford Escort with an RS2000 style engine this had been done since December 1979 when my Mk1 Cortina GT was written off at Sandown. By 1982 I had won the Victorian Sports Sedan Association under 2 litre Championship and repeated that in 1983. During 1983 the 2litre engine was replaced with a Mazda Rotary over the coming years this was developed and so too was the chassis. This development, saw me competing at up to National Championship level. I was to continue working and had 3 years when I worked as a storeman to allow more time for racing. During this time I competed in a number of events in 3 states and had managed to get some sponsorship to help with running costs.
Work wise during 1986, I started at City Mazda as the workshop foreman. I gained important experience in organizing the workload and dealing with customers and staff. My people skills grew and I became service advisor there in 1988. As 1989 arrived I decided to give racing a very concentrated attempt at gaining sponsorship. Working part time and contacting prospective supporters I learnt a great deal about negotiation and people skills! From 1987 I had begun racing a Go Kart at the same time as the car, this was as much as anything for some fun, before long though the fun made way to compete regularly! My karting continued until the end of 1989. At this time the Escort was sold and a Holden HQ was built the HQ was built from a road car in 6 weeks in time for the last race of the year!
1990 was a big year for me I returned to City Mazda as a service advisor, The HQ was being run and by April I was invited to compete in the 24 hour race at Winton located near Benalla Victoria. This was with the Porsche Club team. The car was owned by Mike Tankard, this is where I met Lisa who became my wife in the following February. We won the race and Mike and I completed 12.5 hours of the total 24 hours of a relay race where the team has up to 6 cars and they change over between members during the race. We led most of the race and had a great weekend! 1990 was also the year the Peter Jackson search for a Champion was first held, a competition to find new talent. I entered this and constantly set the fastest time during the day but missed out on going through to the end of the competition.
My time at City Mazda concluded in the October, that was when I joined John and Lisa Gregory at Spyder Automobiles. This was a big step for me which I grabbed with both hands! My own racing was put to the side at this time to concentrate on my new work and personal situation. As a part of this work position we were doing restoration, service and competition work, the challenges had changed but the spirit was alive!
With Spyder Automobiles the restoration work was at a very high level we had a 356A Speedster which was a Concourse De Elegance winning car, with Mike Tankard we began preparing his car to compete in the Australian Porsche Cup which he convincingly won in 1992 by a record margin. I had taken on the role of test driving client’s cars that were going to compete in, helping them get good results. This situation has continued since, with other results including Australian Hill climb class wins, countless club and state victories in hill climbs and sprint events. To this day we are still advising owners and preparing cars for competition. During 2005 I was the eligibility officer for the Australian 944 Challenge which was an interesting experience! I have recently started to have an occasional drive in my restored 1981 Dino Go Kart